Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 8:
On the occasion of International Women’s Day celebrations, we bring you three very ordinary women who have done something extraordinary, be it standing up for their rights, breaking a male bastion or empowering a whole village .
Minati Chaudhary, is today a well known gas mechanic in Bhubaneswar city.
Minati and her four sisters natives of Jharpur village in Jajpur district of Odisha dreamt of getting married and living happily ever after.
But fate had other plans, Minati was married in 2001 in Rourkela but her husband passed away in a road accident in 2002.
After staying for a while with her in-laws in Rourkela, Minati came back to stay with her parents in BJB Nagar Misikhala slum and started working as a gas mechanic in a private firm.
Today, she is able to look after her parents and is a known gas mechanic in the city.
Ranjulata, the resident of Birsa Munda slum stood firm when the rich house owners near the basti objected to permanent community toilets for the slum dwellers.
Self help organisations had proposed for the toilets, a great savior for slum women who were forced to go in the open to relieve themselves, but it hit roadblocks.
Ranjulata, a simple housewife stood up and took the lead, be it telling the PCR van who had come while the foundation was being dug that the toilet was legal. Or explaining to the permanent house owners that slum dwellers also had rights and use of toilets was hygienic.
Today, due to the efforts of Ranjulata, the two community toilets serve 150 residents of the Birsa Munda slum in Bhubaneswar.
The name Sanju Apa is synonymous with empowerment in Baramuda village.
Sanjukata Bhutia started a Self Help Group (SHG) with 20 women of her village to earn some money. They supplied midday meals to the government school.
Tasting success, they later branched out to selling bari, Arisa, rasi ladoo, phenyle to the local market. This was a roaring success and Sanju Apa started 30 SHGs under her, empowering 350 women of her village.
Today,Trishakti Mahila Parishad is at the fore front of helping those in need as well as those who want to start a business.